with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Relationship "Slump Busters"
Part 2 of 5
Simply the Best! - Compliments given with sincerity are a genuine gift
of love. Offer them often. Be generous with praise for your partner. Catch them doing something right.
Let them know you noticed. The road to prosperity in relationships is paved with a commitment to generosity
toward your partner.
We feel closest to people who cause us to feel good about ourselves. There is absolutely no room for
"constructive" criticism in a healthy love relationship. Constructive means to build up. The intent of criticism is to tear down.
Those two words do not fit together at all. Criticism by its very nature is only and always destructive, not constructive.
Try constructive compliments instead; expressions of love straight from the heart. Those words will be music to your partner's ears.
Some might call it "ear candy!"
Perhaps all of us would be better off if we would take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
People don't change because they are criticized. They change when the
relationship is nurtured with warmth and goodwill that inspires them to please their partner.
Appreciation is on the list of top ten needs for most people.
Serve Others - There is nothing quite like serving others to temporarily get
your mind off your own dilemma. Visit a friend in need. Take a buddy to lunch. Volunteer to help a needy
organization. Do some charity work. Often we subconsciously work though our own stuff when we take side
trips to attend to others. Be generous with your giving. Make a contribution to your relationship by giving to
others and your relationship will make a contribution to you.
Abandon Your Expectations - At best, this is difficult, however your
unfulfilled expectations always cause problems. Know that this is true. I can assure you that this is part of
the problem. Instead of expecting your partner to love you the way you think they should love you, put aside your
expectations and allow them to love you the way they love you. Instead be clear about what you need from the
relationship and communicate what those needs are to your partner.
This does not mean accepting any kind of emotional or physical abuse. That is totally unacceptable.
There is never a good reason to stay in an abusive relationship. "NEVER!" If you or someone you know is in
a relationship that is either emotionally or physically abusive be sure to read,
"Domestic Violence Sucks!"
Exercise Your Power of Choice - This is your greatest gift. Do your
best not to repeat the bad choices you have made in your relationship that have brought you to this point in time.
Think before you act. This may take some effort because up until now, your focus has most likely been on seeing your
partner in a negative light. You get what you focus on. That hasn't worked. It's time to change that. Looking for and
seeing the good in your partner has its own way of encouraging better choices.
Touch Me! - There is great healing in the power of touch. Hold hands. Neck in the
car. Give your partner a foot or full-body massage. Spend time kissing and caressing. Give your partner an extended hug;
one that lasts several minutes. Agree to touch each other every day.
Celebrate Love! - Celebrate your special days in romantic ways. Make a note of your
"secret anniversaries" that belong just to the two of you; your first date, the day you first made love, the day you moved into
your home, the day you got your marriage license, the day he/she proposed. Plan something special. Rent a
"romantic movie" and snuggle while you watch it together.
Send a card with your very own loving message.
Turn on the Fun! - Plug in and play. Be a kid again. Plug into what your partner
enjoys and then do whatever it takes to make your play time together memorable. Make a commitment to
add a dose of fun to your daily routine with your partner.
Think back to some of the great times you've had together and recreate the experiences. If you are
going to remain together, you must plan time to be together for play. You must also return to
doing the things that brought you together in the first place. Offer "no excuses" for not being
able to plan no less than one night each week to turn on the fun! Having fun in your relationship
is not an option; it's mandatory!
Dress Up, Not Down - Go on a date and this time dress to the nines!
Make it special. Rent a tuxedo. Buy a new dress. Make advance reservations at a classy restaurant
and let everyone wonder about what the special occasion might be. Put all the stuff of the relationship aside
for that night and pretend it's your very first date. It's not so important to always dress up. What is important
is that you actually plan to have a weekly date!
Got Kids? - Never use your children as an excuse to not work on you or your
relationship. While it is true that you have an awesome responsibility to care for your children, if you put them
first and you last, I suggest that there may be some confusion about your priorities. If you forget to take care of
you, you are not leading by example. It's important to be a good example for your kids.
Some will tell you to never air your disagreements in front of your kids. I disagree. Children are much smarter than we
give them credit. They know when you have misunderstandings and arguments.
When your children witness an argument, reassure them that it is not their fault. Demonstrate
to them that parents can be angry and still love each other while they are
finding solutions to their problems. The skill of teaching fair
fighting or at least keeping the decibels at a reasonable level when expressing your concerns is key.
However. . . always arguing and raising your voices in front of the children is inappropriate. Most high-level
disagreements should be out of hearing range of the kids. Strive for balance. Your home is a school. What are
you teaching your children?
Reward Your Partnership for Doing the Right Thing - Stay on track.
Do what's right. Do unto your partner what you would have them do unto you. Indulge in honoring your
combined efforts. Buy your partnership a trophy from a trophy shop. Have it engraved. Present it to each
other in your very own private ceremony where you renew your promise to each other to continue to work together.
Dazzle Your Partner Unexpectedly - Predictability breeds boredom. Be
spontaneous. Do something completely out of character. Send a mushy greeting card for no reason. Suddenly
stop beside the road, pick a wild flower, hand it to your partner and say, "I love you!" and be on your way.
If you are annoyed because your partner spends too much time watching football, surprise him and watch the game with him.
Pop some popcorn and bring his favorite beverage on a tray. Light some candles in the bathroom and
treat her to a warm bubble bath followed by a 20-minute foot message. Use your imagination.
Romantically impaired? Read,
1001 Ways to Be Romantic
by Greg Godek.
Let There Be Light - Don't take life or yourself so seriously.
Lighten up! There will be screw-ups and breakdowns. Roll with the punches. If you make a mistake, don't let it get you
down. Acknowledge the mistake, take corrective action and continue moving forward. Poke fun at yourself,
but never at your partner. That's their job. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall
never cease to be amused. Smile often.
Tackle Talk - Communicate. It is often most difficult to restart
this process. AND it is the most important way to contribute to your relationship. If you have both been
shut down. . . recommit to opening up to each other. Not talking can cause a serious disconnect from the one you say you love.
My wife and I made an agreement before we were married. We
agreed to talk about anything and everything, all the time. It has been the most important agreement and also the
most difficult agreement to keep. Without an agreement in place, neither partner has a promise to communicate.
Talk the Talk - Instead of speaking only of what has been. . . revise
your way of speaking about what you want and need in your relationship today. Pour all of your energy into speaking
only good words about your relationship. So many times I hear partners speaking to their friends in a negative way about
their partner. It you cannot say something good about them, it is better to say nothing at all. If you
speak or think only of the problem, hopelessness and despair, you will get more of that.
Weigh your words. 500 of the most commonly used English words have 13,000 meanings. Choose your words carefully.
They become your reality. Wherever your attention is centered, your thoughts will focus, and since action
follows thought, the things you keep looking at and speaking about are going to determine what you will
experience. Your relationship lives on the tip of your tongue.
Never say things to your partner that you know will trigger past bad experiences.
To do so is antagonistic and just plain stupid. In this scenario, remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot.
Make an effort everyday to tell your partner how much you appreciate them.
Talk tenderly. Use terms of endearment, like "Honey," "Sweetie," "Baby," etc. Say "thank you." On the way to the office?
Say "Goodbye, sweetheart" instead of just "Goodbye." Whisper sweet nothings! Act loving toward each other
daily and you will feel more loving toward your partner.
I hate the term "Fake it till you make it," however it's true that when you begin to visibly act more
enthusiastic about your relationship, the enthusiasm is contagious. Talking the talk is one thing. Speak
only good of your partner to yourself, to your partner and to others. Only good. Walking the walk
should also be a high priority.
Nurture your partner with words of love, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness. Nurture: To nourish,
educate, grow or develop; cultivate.
Copyright © - Larry James.
Adapted from the books, "How to Really Love the One You're With" and
"LoveNotes for Lovers."
If you would like to talk
one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a
private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching
for specific details.